When not handled correctly, guns can be very dangerous. Consequently, any gun owner needs to make safety a top priority, especially around children. 


So here are seven basic rules of gun safety you should follow: 


  1. Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction


Never point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. An accidental discharge could cause serious harm. 


A safe direction to point the muzzle could be up or down, but the main goal is to make sure a bullet couldn’t possibly hit anyone, taking into account potential ricochets. 


So make a habit of always knowing where your gun is pointed. This is especially important when loading or unloading the firearm.


  1. Treat all guns as though they were loaded


Never assume that a gun is unloaded. This way, you reduce the risk of accidentally firing a gun you thought was empty. Treating all guns as if they were loaded and checking each time you handle one is a mark of a responsible gun owner.


  1. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot


To prevent an accidental discharge, never touch the gun trigger until you’re ready to shoot. 


This rule applies while you’re loading or unloading the gun and even when the safety is on. It’s possible for the gun to fire at any time due to a malfunction. So it’s crucial to develop trigger finger discipline.


  1. Know your target and what’s behind it


Know your target and what’s behind it to help ensure your bullet won’t hit anything you don’t want it to. 


Keep in mind how far your bullet can travel and whether it can ricochet if you miss your target. You should always have a backstop to your target, such as the side of a hill, so the bullet doesn’t travel indefinitely.  


Ultimately, you are responsible for the entire path of the bullet. So maintain situational awareness at all times.


  1. Always secure your firearm from unauthorized users


Store your gun in a safe place. Somewhere away from children, friends, and unwelcome visitors and where it can’t be easily accessed. 


Many gun owners choose to invest in a gun safe for this purpose. However, you can also get a simple gun lock and keep the gun where it isn’t easily visible. The point is to prevent unauthorized users from using your gun to do harm, whether on accident or on purpose. 


  1. Never leave your gun unattended


When using your gun, make sure to never leave it unattended—whether you’re at a gun range, out hunting, or anywhere else. This way, it doesn’t accidentally end up in the wrong hands.


  1. Invest in the right gear


Lastly, invest in gun gear that will help you use your gun safely. For example, you may want to buy earplugs to protect your ears from loud gunshots (see why here) and visors to protect your eyes from potential ricochets. 


You may also want to buy a bright vest so others can see you while hunting or a flashlight attachment from OpticsForce.com so that you can better see with your gun at night. There are many gun accessories out there that can help protect you.


The bottom line


At the end of the day, gun safety is important whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. Don’t let complacency or experience keep you from putting safety first. Follow the rules above and you’ll keep yourself and others much safer. Guaranteed.